This article provides background information about Lacinato Kale by first elaborating on its essential characteristics and comparing this kale cultivar to other types of Kale. We then summarized the origin of kale and its health benefits. We shared a fantastic recipe for a delicious dish we love to make in our family. Finally, we share a great source of Lacinato Kale seeds to help you grow these in your garden!

1. Characteristics

There are multiple types of Kale, some cultivars can be eaten, and others are purely ornamental. Kale is part of the Cabbage family (Brassica oleracea) and has multiple nutritional benefits that we will also discuss.

This article focuses on a specific variety of Kale: Lacinato Kale. Over the centuries, this type of kale has taken multiple names. Some call it “Dinosaur Kale” given its scaly leaves resembling reptile skins. This kale variety is well established in Italy’s Tuscany, and some also refer to it as “Tuscan kale”. Italians refer to this cultiver as cavalo nero which means black cabbage in Italian. Lacinato Kale has been used in many types of dishes for multiple centuries, given its excellent taste and ease of growth. We will also cover some authentic recipes highlighting the culinary benefit of Lacinato Kale.

a. How does it look, and how does it differ from other types of Kale

In the chart below, Lacinato Kale is compared to Vates Blue Scotch Curled Kale, a curly-leaved Kale and to Red Russian Kale has plain green leaves and is characterized by red veins. The three types of Kale have very similar heights and leaf sizes.

Lacinato Kale

Blue Scotch Curled Kale

Red Russian Kale


Dark green- almost black / blue-green

Light Green

Deep green with red veins

Texture of the leaf



Plain leaf

Typical height









© 2022, Ethos Seed Company
© 2022, Ethos Seed Company

 © 2022, Ethos Seed Company

b. Where does it grow

As mentioned earlier, Lacinato Kale is said to originate from Tuscany (Lacinato kale - Wikipedia), so one would expect it to grow in temperate climates. The three cultivars of Kale mentioned previously (Lacinato Kale, Blue Scotch Curled Kale and Red Russian Kale) grow well in cold to warm climates. Kale generally needs 6 hours of sunlight daily and can tolerate temperatures ranging from 45F to 80F. Overexposure to the sun during the summer days should also be avoided. Though the three types of kale can thrive in similar weather conditions, they have different growth speeds, as illustrated in the chart below. Lacinato Kale typically grows longer than its kale counterparts, Scots Kale and Red Russian Kale.

Lacinato Kale

Scots Kale

Red Russian Kale

Spring/Summer growth period

60-90 days

50-65 days

50-65 days

Fall/Winter growth period

75-100 days

70-85 days

70-85 days

 © 2022, Ethos Seed Company

C. How does it taste

Lacinato Kale has a less bitter taste than the curly leaf cultivars. One can also expect to sense an overall rich and nutty taste.Younger leaves tend to be much more tender. Therefore, I prefer harvesting younger leaves for nice, flavorful and hearty salads.

2. Origin

According to Dr Leonard Perry from the University of Vermont (, Kale has been present in our ancestor’s nutrition since 2000 BC and is likely to originate from the Mediterranean area. There are several accounts of Kale being cultivated by the Greeks, the Romans, and the various Celtic civilizations.

3. Health benefits of kale

Kale contains very rich nutrients that make it an exceptional “super food”.
  • 1 cup of Kale contains the following nutrients:
  • 42 calories (low calorie food)
  • ~3.5 grams of protein (high for a green)
  • ~4 grams of fiber (digestive system, diabetes)
  • Vitamin K 494 mcg (bone health)
  • Calcium 177 mg (bone health)
  • Phosphorus 50 (bone health)
  • Antioxidants (anti cancer components) - such as Vitamin C
  • Potassium 170mg (blood pressure)

Source: Kale: Health benefits, nutrition, diet, and risks (

 © 2022, Ethos Seed Company

4. Our favorite recipe: Kale Minestrone soup

This will help you make one of the most wonderful soups that we enjoy in the fall when we need a hearty but very healthy meal. The recipe below does not include salt but can be added depending on preference.

b. Ingredients that you will need:

  • 3 cup of Lacinato Kale that you will thinly slice
  • 2 Large Tomatoes that have been diced. Preferably fresh heirloom tomatoes (2 pounds of tomatoes of any kind would work as well) - it is also fine to use canned sliced tomatoes
  • Half a teaspoon of basil
  • 4 garlic cloves that you would chop in tiny slices
  • Half a teaspoon of rosemary
  • 5 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese, preferably Parmesan
  • 2 cups of cooked italian white beans
  • 1 onion chopped in thin slices
  • 1 cup of shell pasta
  • 1 cup of parsley
  • Half a cup of olive oil

c. Main Steps:

First heat a pan with the olive oil and lightly roast the garlic and the onion slices. Stop when both turn light brown / yellowish (5 minutes)

Then start boiling the broth, first add the tomatoes, then the white beans, garlic and onions. Add all the remaining ingredients except the parsley that should be added at the end. Keep on low to medium heat for 20 minutes. Then add the parsley and serve once the pastas are cooked.

Then… enjoy!

5. How to grow Lacinato Kale

The first step to grow Lacinato Kale would be to find a good reputable provider of heirloom seeds.

One independent and small-business that sells heirloom seeds online is the Ethos Seed Company ( - you can purchase Lacinato Kale seeds on their website: Lacinato Kale Seeds – Ethos Seed Company.

They sell heirloom vegetable seeds, herb seeds and flower seeds. The website also provides very useful tips and information about gardening and growing vegetables.

This small business is woman-owned which is a great thing to encourage as well.

It has a diverse selection of seeds with the “staple” selections that include the following categories: kale, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, beans, carrots, squash, cucumbers and many more! It also includes rare seeds such as linux lettuce seeds or Vates Blue Scotch Curled kale seeds.

Once you have ordered the seeds that you would like to plant, get ready to start a beautiful garden, and prepare for the right planting season. If you are not sure what to do, you can always connect with your seed provider who would be thrilled to help.